The Maid of the Loch enters final phase of restoration
After more than 20 years of effort, it looks as if the Maid of the Loch will be sailing once again, maybe even as early as 2018.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has offered support for the £5.5 million project.
Phil Preston, chairman of the Loch Lomond Steamship Company (LLSC), said: “This has been a 20 year cause, during which we have raised and reinvested over £1.9 million and committed over 80,000 hours to restoring the ship.
“With this promise of around £3.8 million from HLF, we now need to do the hard work of raising the other £1.7 million. I guess it’s now full steam ahead.”
This is a Round One Pass, meaning that the charity can prepare all the necessary technical surveys, drawings, and specifications for the ship’s rebuild.
Stuart McMillan MSP attended the celebrations and said: “I am delighted that the Maid campaign has received this huge financial boost and look forward to seeing the Maid once again sailing on Loch Lomond.
“There is still much work to be done but this Heritage Lottery Fund investment should give confidence to other potential investors”.
The engagement of consultants and marine experts will begin immediately with all necessary surveys, reports, and costs being ready for the spring of 2016.
It is anticipated that Maid of the Loch will sail again in 2018.
It’s all a far cry from the day I was wandering through the woods at Balloch, and came across the derelict, vandalised, and stripped hull many years ago – I had no idea it was even there, or had survived being withdrawn when it fell out of service.
I’ve always regretted being fairly far from Balloch, even by car, as I’d liked to have a hand in part of the restoration, but even though my company was involved in a suitable discipline, I doubt if my colleagues would have backed any handouts. (I better not be any more specific.)
Fingers crossed they do get the job done soon, and I’ll be able to have a trip on the loch.
I did sail on her just before she fell out of service (while I was still a kid), and had always planned to make my own way there for a sail or two, but by the time that was possible, she was ‘gone’, and the next time I saw her was as a derelict hull lying somewhere on the shores of Balloch. And even that was just a chance find, as I had gone for a wander in the woods somewhere along the loch. I had no idea even that much had survived (having heard she had fallen out of service, I’d just assumed she’d been scrapped and was gone for good), but even the thought it was only a matter of time before even that was gone.
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